New Zealand 49 - 14 France: Ref’s block turns the tide

New Zealand's Rieko Ioane scores a try against France. Picture: AP.
New Zealand's Rieko Ioane scores a try against France. Picture: AP.
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Damien McKenzie shrugged off his contentious selection at stand-off to score two tries, including a disputed first-half effort, as New Zealand beat France 49-14 in the third Test for a 3-0 series whitewash.

Wing Rieko Ioane added a second-half hat-trick as New Zealand ran away with the match and series by scoring 28 unanswered points in the second half.

McKenzie – a full-back who the All Black selectors have decided to make into a back-up to regular stand-off Beauden Barrett, who is out injured – was handed a start in the No.10 jersey and he made a strong impression, scoring a try in each half and kicking seven conversions for 24 points.

A fortunate first-half try gave New Zealand a 21-14 lead at half-time, McKenzie dashing through a hole in the defence created when Irish referee John Lacey impeded France scrum-half Baptiste Serin, an eighth-minute replacement for Morgan Parra.

The 32nd-minute try for the All Blacks turned the tide of the match.

France had been the better team for most of the first half, going ahead 7-0 with a try by Serin after 12 minutes during which they had almost uninterrupted possession. They fell behind 14-7 after tries by full-back Ben Smith and replacement flanker Matt Todd but drew level again with a Wesley Fofana try.

France’s morale flagged after McKenzie’s try and they conceded four more tries in a one-sided second half.

The first of those tries went to McKenzie and the last three to Ioane, a constant threat out wide.

The win was a triumph for a young All Blacks side which contained four new caps, flanker Shannon Frizell, lock Jackson Hemopo, centre Jack Goodhue and replacement No.10 Richie Mo’unga.